It was a great day for Nene Valley Harriers when the cross-country runners travelled to Heanor on Saturday last week for the penultimate North Midlands League fixture.
They had one individual winner in the shape of Alex Hampson and a couple of team successes and are in a great position to collect some silverware when the overall placings are worked out after the final meeting at Wollaton Park in January.
The club’s Under 11 mixed team beat off 10 other clubs to take the top honours and another solid performance next month could see them crowned league champions.
Sam Hughes and Sam Oakley led the team home on the testing 2km course at Heanor in third and fourth places respectively, just ten seconds behind the winning athlete, with Flo Brill (9th) and Joe Garner (17th) never far behind.
Harriers filled half of the top 10 positions in the Under 17 men’s 6km race, taking the maximum team points and putting them further out of reach for the other clubs to challenge them in the league.
Hampson returned to his usual winning ways when clinching victory by just three seconds, while team-mates Niall Payne (6th), Bradley Spurdens (7th), Ollie Bowling (8th) and Jevan Robertson (9th) finished within 25 seconds of each other.
While the senior women only managed to field two athletes at Heanor, Grace Mullins’ sixth place and Cat Foley’s ninth still placed the team sixth on the day and keeps them in contention for the title.
Team captain and club coach, Russ Prosser, has sent out a plea to the Harriers’ senior women to turn out for the club next month and help them win back their league trophy.
The Under 13 and Under 15 girls also produced fine performances, notably from Amber Park (6th), Calypso Priestly (7th), Megan Ellison (3rd) and Beth Gaymour (13th), with both teams placing second on the day.
The Under 17 girls fought hard against some very strong opposition, helping them to keep within 36 points of the league leaders, Notts AC.
The Under 13 boys also finished second on the day thanks to good runs by Ethan Ellison (10th) and Ethan Russell (15th) and Sam Garner (18th).
Keilan Spurdens (7th) led the Under 15 boys home with a top 10 finishing position, supported by Nathan Davey (11th) and Ollie Oakley (12th), while the senior men did well to place fifth team overall without many of their key performers.
Jake Richardson (13th), James McCrae (17th) and Rhys Goddard (33rd) took the first three team places, while father and son Tim (147th) and Sam Hunt (50th), Billy Mugnier (97th), Paul Parkin (172nd) and Dave Brown (121st) - better known for his international masters sprinting success - completed the club’s senior men’s performance.